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Angels, City Still at Odds

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Relations between the Angels and the city of Anaheim deteriorated further during a meeting Friday, when club President Dennis Kuhl refused the city’s demand to say once and for all whether the team would change its name to the Los Angeles Angels.

Although the meeting was designed to ease tensions between the two sides, a plan to issue a joint statement collapsed. Kuhl issued a statement that did not mention the possibility of a name change; the city’s statement focused on that issue and blistered the Angels for being “unwilling to publicly clarify their position” and “not committed to honoring the terms of their lease.”

In the meeting, city officials emphasized there would be no negotiation on the topic. The Angel Stadium lease requires the team to be called the Anaheim Angels, and the City Council voted this week to sue if the team proceeds with the name change.

“From our standpoint, it’s still a concept,” Angel spokesman Tim Mead said. “It doesn’t become more definitive because they’ve threatened a lawsuit.”

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City officials appear convinced the Angels might make the change shortly and plan to act accordingly. The council will consider Tuesday whether to sue on the basis that removal of the city name in team publicity constitutes a de facto violation of the lease, spokesman John Nicoletti said.

In his statement, Kuhl said the Angels are exploring options to generate the revenue necessary to finance a championship team in ways besides increasing ticket prices. He noted the Angels had the third-highest payroll in baseball last season but ranked below the major league average in broadcast revenues and ticket prices.

Owner Arte Moreno has said he believes a name change would help remind advertisers and broadcasters the Angels reach all of Southern California, not just Orange County, and would help persuade them to pay more.

Also Friday, two members of the Los Angeles City Council introduced a resolution opposing the change. While the resolution is symbolic -- the council has no standing in a potential dispute between Moreno and the city of Anaheim -- the fallout could extend to the NFL.

Councilman Bernard Parks asked City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo to investigate how the city might protect its name from improper use, and Councilman Alex Padilla said the city would object if the NFL returned to Southern California in Anaheim or Pasadena but wanted the team branded with the Los Angeles name.

“We’d certainly fight that,” Padilla said.

Padilla, who joined Councilman Ed Reyes in sponsoring the resolution, criticized the Angels for seeking “to capitalize on Los Angeles’ prestige and status by exploiting our good name” without contributing to the city’s tax base.

The resolution, up for a vote Wednesday, declares that Los Angeles “is currently home to one and only one major league baseball team and that is the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

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-- Bill Shaikin and Patrick McGreevy

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Houston Astro outfielder Lance Berkman had surgery on his injured right knee, with recovery time expected to take from five to six months.

Golf

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Laura Diaz closed with three birdies for a five-under-par 67 to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the LPGA Tournament of Champions at Mobile, Ala.

Diaz moved to 11-under 133 at the Magnolia Grove’s Crossings Course. Heather Daly-Donofrio was alone in second after a second-round 66. Lorena Ochoa had her second straight 68 and is tied with Christina Kim (70) at 136.

Diaz is No. 36 on the LPGA money list and needs a good showing to climb into the top 30 and qualify for next week’s season-ending ADT Championship.

Justin Leonard and Steve Flesch combined for a nine-under 63 and a one-stroke lead over Hank Kuehne and Jeff Sluman after the first round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout at Naples, Fla.

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Greg Norman and Scott McCarron had a seven-under 65 in the modified alternate-shot format, tied with John Daly and Rory Sabbatini.

John Daly’s wife pleaded guilty to a federal money laundering charge in Oxford, Miss.

Sherrie Miller Daly and her parents, Alvis and Billie Miller, were indicted on charges stemming from what authorities said was a drug ring and an illegal gambling operation.

Soccer

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Tampa Bay Buccaneer owner Malcolm Glazer ousted three Manchester United board members in a move that could signal plans for a hostile takeover of the famed soccer team.

Glazer owns 28.1% of the team, which is valued at about $1.36 billion and ranked by many as the world’s richest sports franchise.

Meanwhile, the British Press Assn. reported that financial institution J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. had withdrawn its representation of Glazer.

U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller was loaned from Tottenham Hotspur to Southampton in the English Premier League for four weeks.

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Colleges

Forward Iris Mora scored in the 81st minute to lead the UCLA women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over visiting Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Bruins will play San Diego -- a 1-0 winner in double overtime over Nevada Las Vegas -- in the second round Sunday at 1 p.m. at Drake Stadium. UCLA defeated San Diego, 4-0, in its season opener on Aug. 27.

Bibiana Candelas and Staci Venski each had 16 kills to lead the USC women’s volleyball team to a 31-29, 30-28, 23-30, 21-30, 18-16 victory over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.

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The sixth-ranked Trojans (16-4) had five players with at least 11 kills apiece.

Becky Green led the No. 16 Bruins (15-9) with 20 kills.

Miscellany

The final cost of the Athens Olympics soared to about $11.6 billion -- at least $3.1 billion more than originally estimated.

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Neither figure included transportation projects such as the new tram line, suburban rail network and extension of the Athens metro system to the airport, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said.

Rain washed out qualifying for the Southern 500, forcing NASCAR to set the grid for Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Darlington, S.C., by car owner points. That put Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin -- separated by only 104 points -- at the front of the 43-car field.

Rain also canceled qualifying for the Busch Series race and postponed the Craftsman Truck Series race.

The Ontario Warriors of the American Basketball Assn. have hired Brad Wright as coach and Ron Quarterman as associate coach. Wright played at UCLA and for three NBA teams and for several seasons in foreign professional leagues. He also coached at Pierce College.

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The Warriors, who open their season Friday at Las Vegas, also signed Satoshi Miyata, a 5-11, 145-pound point guard from Japan.


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